Shooting Guns in Guam

Anyone who has visited Vegas knows that there is money to be made selling range time to tourists. There are advertisements for machine gun shooting everywhere. Apparently it is also big business in the US territories of Guam.

The Japanese monarchs and governments have never trusted them to own guns. Apparently heading to Guam, a three hour flight from Tokyo, is how many of them get their fix. A Japanese guy has documented his past three trips to shoot guns in Guam

[ Many thanks to Yoshi for emailing me the link. ]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • “Maybe “Guam” is meant?

    • Sven, indeed it is 🙂 Thanks.

  • Aurelien

    Every month in “ARMS” magazine (basically the biggest ‘airsoft’ magazine out there), you got japanese reporters shooting guns in Guam.
    Japanese people love guns, they just cant own them.

    it’s pretty much like beef. They love it, it’s just expensive and hard to come by out there.

    • Aurelien, thats interesting. Why is beef hard to come by? Import restrictions?

  • Crud, I should have booked tickets to Guam.

    Does anyone know if something like this is possible in Korea? I’ll be heading there for 5 days starting the 24th of this month.

    Steve, let me know if you want any pictures of anything in Korea… South Korea that is 🙂

    • Matt, I doubt it. Outside of the Philippines, I cannot think of any countries in South East Asia that allow regular people (ie. not the rich of powerful) to own guns.

      If you photograph any interesting guns stuff let me know. If you see a military museum pop in and have look.

  • Bill

    That is some major money over three years… More credit to the guy(s) – getting to try many types of firearms.

  • Michael

    I’ve lived all over the world and the right to gun ownership for everyone from the trailer trash to the rich is one and only area I’ve observed that makes us special from a day to day freedoms perspective.

  • Joshua

    Love the hat! I don’t live in Texas but sure do order a lot of stuff from those guys!

  • Vak

    You should have put in your article that those tour reports were written in japanese, because I don’t understand anything written in them. Well, at least the pictures are nice.

  • Twice more 😉

  • D Murray

    God bless America! That shooter’s picture gallery is impressive. All I have to do is drive to Vegas. I hope someone is making money!

  • Lance

    I think we should trade all the Kaliforian and new York anti-gunners for pro-gunners in japan for they can have firearms here and the anti-gunners can live in a gun free state like japan.

    Ive shoot guns in Vietnam and I think these machine gun shoots are very fun.

    • Lance, awesome. I have always wanted to go to Vietnam and Cambodia to do some shooting. Did you use RPGs? How common are these places?

  • CMathews

    Any idea why he is wearing rubber gloves? Seems a bit strange.

  • Squirrel Samurai

    That looks like a GI Joe.

    Really, though, when I was in Korea there was a mall with a shooting range on the bottom floor. I picked a weapon from a small selection of different pistols, paid an exorbitant sum for a single magazine, donned a Kevlar vest, and was led to an indoor lane where my weapon of choice was actually tethered midair in the booth with cables. An interesting experience…certainly one that would only whet my appetite for firearms were I a local.

  • Squirrel Samurai

    Upon inspection of the actual links, it is in fact a GI Joe. 😀

  • Jason in Iowa

    Wow, I love the link, and I love the action figure in the photos, the Japanese may not have access to firearms, but they always have the coolest toys. Good for him to go get some range time. Now he needs chartered hunt in Wyoming to really get his teeth in it.

  • The wierd thing about the gun ranges in Guam is not that they exist, nor that their billboards are entirely in languages other than English, but rather that the ranges are actually built into stripmalls, sometimes even on the second story.

    I like to think that they armored all five relevant sides of the range, but I did not go into one, so I cannot say…

  • El Duderino

    Looks like an action figure.

    I’ll keep waiting for the Bizarro-world Karate Kid where a Japanese kid moves next door to a salty retired U.S. Marine sniper…and you get the idea 🙂

  • Chris

    Japanese people are allowed to own guns, it’s just stunningly difficult and there are a bunch of storage requirements, etc.

  • Carlos U.

    You still have “Gaum” instead of Guam in the text. Love the blog, BYW.

  • Me

    When I was in the Navy, used to fly into Guam alot. That was one of the first things i noticed was all the “shooting parlors”. As mentioned, one of the tourist to do’s for the Japanese when they visited.

    The other thing I noticed was around the Hilton pool, they had decorated with all kinds of World War Two left overs, Propellers, AA and artillery guns etc from Japanese forces, set into the cement. There was even a little machine gun bunker just down the steps on the beach, IIRR located under the pool bar. The ironic thing was, if there were 50 people around the pool 45 would be Japanese. So we used to joke, “The Second Invasion”.

  • thebronze

    All the times I’ve been to Guam, I’ve never been to one of those ranges (although I’ve seen them). I preferred to go to beach or go to the Viking Club or the G-Spot, with the rest of my crewmates!

  • Aurelien

    “Aurelien, thats interesting. Why is beef hard to come by? Import restrictions?”

    Well you only got to go to Japan one time to understand their problem with beef.
    First of all, Japan is pretty much all mountain. They dont have big chunks of grassland like the US or Europe. Pretty much all the coastal flatland is taken up by giant cities, with no gap between them. And every non-constructed spaceis a rice paddy usually. The only cows i’ve seen there are far from their fat cousins from Europe and the US.
    As a result, beef in Japan is pretty much 10 times more expensive than pork, and more expensive than any expensive fish. Japan is still a fishermans country after all.

    • Aurelien, it sounds like the price is quite a bit above the world traded price. For it to stay high they would need to restrict imports. Beef and other meats are easy to export.

  • Aurelien

    Well restricted import goes with Japan. For anything from basic products (like yogurth) to cars, you need a whole bunch of documents, and usually it will just stay put in a dockyard for a week or 2 before being cleared. A lot like the finest food products from Europe when entering the US.
    Thats mainly how Japan keeps jobs local, with high import taxes and a lot restrictions.

  • Yoshi

    Matt,

    > Does anyone know if something like this is possible in Korea?

    Actually, the website also has an article of shooting in Korea. 🙂
    http://www.hyperdouraku.com/seoul09/

    • Yoshi, ha! So there is!

  • Martin

    #
    CMathewson 09 Mar 2010 at 7:45 am link comment

    Any idea why he is wearing rubber gloves? Seems a bit strange.

    I would venture that if you are going to go through an airport that screens for bomb material that the gloves help reduce the chance of getting a positive. My gear would get flagged from just carrying explosives and such.

  • texasaero

    As someone who has lived there longer than normal 3 year tour, Guam has a thriving gun culture with locals. Gun ownership is alive and well. We understand oppression far better than the average US citizen sometimes not true with the younger generations. Guam was a battleground in WWII complete with concentration camps. However, the local legislature as been following Kali laws with a “keep up with the jones” attitude.

    Those tourist ranges are everywhere in the Tumon Beach area mostly in strip malls as mentioned earlier. Charging in the hundreds of dollars.

    As side note, from time to time heavy ordinance would be dug up by locals for the Navy EOD team to take away. Alot during the ’70s.

  • Aurelien, you’re pretty wrong on the beef idea. I’m currently living in Japan and I can get a cheap steak for about $5 on average. There are grasslands and farm lands and the cows look pretty normal to me. Maybe they’re a bit smaller but I’m no cow expert.

    Japanese people also CAN own firearms. If I were to stay longer than 2 years (6 months left) I would have looked into it more. From my understanding, owning a shotgun is the first step. After the red tape you can own a shotgun. 7 years after owning a shotgun w/o problems you can buy a rifle. Handguns and military style rifles are a no go, however.

    Steve, there are plenty of countries in S.E. Asia who allow private gun ownership. GSSF is pretty popular in Thailand, for example. I don’t know details and whether or not full autos are allowed but I know there are gun owners throughout most of S.E. Asia. Japan is probably the biggest exception.

    Yoshi, thanks for the link! I need to shoot a bit while I’m in Korea 😀

    • Matt, I know they can in theory but in practice are the police in the habit of actually handing out licenses? Thailand recently changed the laws and you pretty much have to be very wealthy (by their standard) to own a gun – something to do with proving you have a significant amount of money in the bank, an amount most people will not be able to save.

      China is a no go. Korea, I did not know they were allowed to own guns, although shooting ranges does not mean that an average joe can (China even has shooting ranges licensed by the govt!). Vietnam and Cambodia seem to have a lot of guns floating around for use by tourists, and I would be interested to learn their laws. Indonesia and Malaysia? I don’t know but I would be surprised if they are. Singapore you can own guns but are not allowed to keep them at home.

      I need to work out a suitable definition of reasonable gun ownership. This topic deserves a blog post.

  • Aurelien

    Matt, would you by any chance be in Hokkaido ?

  • Steve, I have a cool idea I’d like to run past you. I’ll send you an email.

    Aurelien, Nope but I’ve been to Hokkaido. I live 1.5 hours (by shink) north of Tokyo. There are mountains but that doesn’t matter much for cattle. Even in PA (where I grew up) I live in the mountains but there are tons of cattle farms.

    Japan isn’t a cattle country but they do enjoy their beef. Not all beef is Kobe beef. It’s not hard to find a reasonable steak from the market.

    Now, you’re right about the import tax. I’m not sure what it is but it makes imports more expensive. Still, there are exceptions. Guinness is the same price as Sapporo or Kirin… surprisingly. Imported hard liquor is widely available and pretty cheap. A bottle of Stoli is about $7-$10. There is next to no tax on alcohol and tobacco. A pack of smokes is still $3. One strange thing is the price of beer vs liquor. 6 500ml beers is about $14 whereas 5 liters of Sake is $25.

  • Aurelien

    Matt,
    I’ve been mostly to the south of Japan – pretty much went everywhere south of Nagano – and there are very few cattle farms there. The north of Japan has a more Cattle-friendly environement and a much flatter terrain.

    That could explain de price difference.

    Technically the japanese dont have crazy taxes on everyday products, they just tend to have non-national products made or pocessed locally, mostly because importation of terminal products is hell. So the prices dont really go up or down. I have an uncle that worked for Danone for 30 years, and spent 6-7 years in Japan to build plants and adapt the products to the local market.

    The only thing Japan tends to outsource is heavy industries, due to their limited energy supply.

  • CMathews

    Martin,
    I thought it might have something to do with that but wasn’t sure. I didn’t know if maybe the range frowned upon fingerprints or something really strange.

  • Marsh

    Those action figures rock. Where do you get them?